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August retail sales disappoint with tepid 0.1% increase from July

Washington, D.C. -- Retail sales increased in the month of August but came in at a much slower pace than anticipated, according to the National Retail Federation. Sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted from last month, and increased 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

According to data released Friday by the U.S. Census Bureau, total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) in August increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7% adjusted year-over-year.

“Retail sales gains continue to be tepid,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Retail sales and employment, while measurably positive, have been disappointing over the last few months, and have been difficult to reconcile with consumer confidence. The data suggests that consumers remain cautious with their pocketbooks and purchases.”

Other findings from the August retail sales report include:

  • Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales decreased 0.9% seasonally adjusted yet increased 5.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.6% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.0% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.8% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.1% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 0.9% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Non-store retailers’ sales increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 8.8% unadjusted year-over-year.

  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales decreased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month yet increased 3.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
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